June 8, 2016

Statement from Speaker Carl Heastie on Ethics Reform

The Assembly Majority has stated time and again that ethics reform is among our top priorities. The landmark Supreme Court decision in Citizen's United vs. Federal Election Commission weakened efforts at campaign finance transparency and eroded many years of state and federal regulation. We recognize the need for additional reform that will offer New Yorkers transparency and accountability.

We agree with Governor Cuomo that this is a priority that must be addressed before the close of the 2016 session. It is our goal for the voters of this state to have full faith and trust in their government. There is no question that campaign finance reform and taking a hard line against corrupt officials who abuse the public trust are the keys to achieving that goal.

In 2014, we enacted comprehensive independent expenditure legislation addressing concerns raised by Citizens United. In 2015, we amended that law to go even further in addressing illegal coordination in a more comprehensive way. The Assembly Majority has twice passed bills to close the limited liability companies (LLC) loophole and lower the political contribution limits for these entities to match the threshold used for corporations. This measure would also require full disclosure of the true owners behind the LLC making the contributions.

We will not abandon our efforts to seek justice against public officials convicted of corruption. Any steps we take to strip corrupt officials of their pensions would require a constitutional amendment so it is imperative that we have the support of our partners in government to achieve this important goal. Once again, we reiterate our readiness to act on this issue before the adjournment of the 2016 legislative session next week.

We hope that our colleagues in government will join us in acting on these important issues in the coming days.